The financial impact of Covid-19 on football (with a finance expert)

by .

Very short post this morning because I’m basically just pimping a podcast I hosted yesterday with Nigel Phillips of the Arsenal Supporters Trust.

We covered the virus and its impact on TV, fans, the club and the players.

Things that might interest you if that wasn’t enough:

  • We talk about the impact this might have on Stan Kroenke after he took out a loan to buy Arsenal
  • We discuss what happens if players decide they don’t want to play
  • We get into the TV deal and what the FAANG set might mean from the Premier League
  • We ponder what this means for fandom in general
  • We also discuss the lack of leadership at the top of the Premier League

A huge thank you to Nigel for giving up his time to share such excellent insight! I think you should listen, then share it with your pals. Do it.

Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher

83 Responses to “The financial impact of Covid-19 on football (with a finance expert)”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. James wood

    Really. Great podcast .

    And two words stuck.
    “Wage Sanity.”
    For far two long this has been a mounting problem
    couple this with LEECH Agents you have a recipe
    for killing the game.
    Love the piece about television rights which I’m
    sure as mentioned yesterday Amazon will win if
    Amazon can do the games on it’s Prime package
    then Sky and BT are dead.

    Prime yearly package £79.

  2. Bojangles

    Tony. No, Viet Nam is the country I choose to live in. I would not want to take out citizenship nor, I am sure, would the Vietnamese government be willing to offer it.

  3. Spanishdave

    It’s been festering for years.
    Clubs have attracted the wrong type of owners, who are not fans of the game just investors.
    Average joe players getting vast wages.
    Poor quality youth players just in it for money.
    Clubs are over staffed with all sorts of experts that seem to grow each year.
    Poor quality coaches are pretending to be the next big thing and failing after splashing out on average joes and then getting large payments for failure and going off to find the next mug of a chairman.
    Over £100 to see a game with one shot on goal.

  4. G

    “” . Raul+ Edu+ KiaThey are a cancer. And they need cutting out. lets hope Corona does the job- “”
    Wow.. Would you like them to have a painful death or would jus dying be enough for u

  5. andy1886

    Do we need a women’s team if it isn’t profitable?

    Lol, and I thought the aim of professional football was to win trophies (in which the women are far more successful than the men right now).

    You could always see if Amazon have a ‘soccer’ team, they’re doing pretty well financially.

  6. Dissenter

    Daniel Levi leading the way, it seems
    Spurs players and staff have to get a hair cut…, sorry mistake, they will all get pay cuts.
    The clubs can’t just keep paying out full wages when there’s no money coming in. The future of the game is at stake, hopefully this pandemic resets the way business is done. The exorbitant transfers and wages won’t persist past this crises.

  7. Freddie Ljungberg

    Thanks Pedro for removing CGs post and leaving mine looking kinda douchy without context.

    Telling that no one has said anything though, shows the esteem he’s held in here I guess.

  8. Pierre

    I would say that that the comment from CG has been misrepresented.

    On saying that ” he hope’s corona would do the job” , I don’t believe he meant that they would be infected with the virus , more that the financial implications of the virus will alter the way the club employ staff.

  9. Jamie

    Great podcast! Interesting to hear that the debt from Kroenke’s leveraged buyout isn’t [currently] being serviced by Arsenal FC, and that it was guaranteed against his/his wife’s other holdings.

    Kind of disappointing that the club hasn’t yet announced an executive/playing staff wage deduction to cover all the low-paid non-playing staff’s full wages while the season is on pause.

  10. Pierre

    Looks like Ozil just about wins this one, he also won more trophies whilst he has been at the club and has shown more loyalty to The Arsenal.

    Both great players though I put Cesc as the more influential player overall , just a pity that
    1) he had his head turned by Barcelona and
    2) Wenger didn’t take up the option to re sign him as a midfield of Fabregas, Cazorla and Ozil would have dominated the ball.

  11. Dissenter

    Speaking of Ozil,
    He is now the proud father of an infant daughter, her face looks like her mother’s which is good for her.
    Congrats to Ozil, from a a

  12. Sid

    Congratulations to Ozil, seems he was putting his energy towards baby making leaving him running on empty on the field

  13. Uwot?

    Cesc all day long.Its not even a decent comparison.An insult to cesc.Putting his superior all round ability to one side he always gave nothing less than 100% which can NEVER be said of Ozil.The one blot on his copybook is the embarrassing & shameless tapping up by Barca which he could have handled better.Certainly Arsenal could have done better than just bending over to the catalan bandits & taking a shafting.Embarrasing for a so called big club.

  14. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    Listen to pod ting…
    Head to toe…

    What was the name of the .org to register,
    Got mote time on me hands…

    Many thanks

  15. Marc


    I’ve got to say CG was saying things far worse if you go back some months the only difference was he was also slagging off Emery then – now he’s not pro Arteta you’re policing his comments (as you should).

  16. Freddie Ljungberg


    Now now, don’t be dragging Pedros name in the dirt because he mistakenly labeled the deranged bleatings of an unhinged madman “elite analysis” because it reinforced his view on the manager. That’s just mean, no one wants to be reminded of that.

  17. andy1886

    BBC are saying that only non-playing staff are taking a pay cut at Spurs. The big earners are still raking in the dough.

    On Ozil, it’s not difficult to be ‘loyal’ on £350k/wk when no other sane club would pay anywhere near that.

  18. Marc


    Using the insane ramblings of someone clearly needing some help does not strengthen your argument.

    It amazes me Pedro took that path when he didn’t need to.

  19. Marc


    The Spud’s are fucked – huge debt from the new stadium (can you imagine if this had happened a few months after we moved into the Emirates!), Mourinho being a cunt and players like Kane considering whether the grass might be greener elsewhere. Levy’s stuck in a position of trying to save money and buy loyalty at the same time.

  20. TheBayingMob

    Looks like Wimbledon will be cancelled, and that just goes to prove that in every tragedy and catastrophe there is always hope and positives that come from it …

  21. Dissenter

    “You guys have to get on The Tiger King.”

    That’s the most insane series most people will ever see in their lifetimes.
    It’s like an alternate universe. I’ve been to that zoo before, it was a scary experience seeing so many cats at close range.

  22. andy1886

    Marc, yes they are in deep shit. Maureen was always going to be a disaster. Kane was always going to leave the ‘nearly’ club. Their biggest mistake though is building an expensive stadium that they can never fill on a regular basis. Because when the glory hunting tourists fade away they simply don’t have the fan base to do it.

  23. Dissenter

    I really thought the dude was just cool when I visited that zoo in 2009. He had an aura about him and is even more captivating in person.
    His tunes…. not so good.
    He was hard done by the narcissistic self avowed rescuer of big cats who is just as bizarre as him and who also makes money of her cats.

  24. China1

    Cesc was not only a much better all round player the ozil, but he also gave 100% commitment and bled for the cause with total consistency each week

    Ozil on the other hand shows flashes of genius when he can be arsed whilst vanishing, faking illness and sitting at home collecting pay Cheques for a large fraction of the season

    Gee who is better?

    Comparing cesc with ozil is like comparing Henry with anelka and people actually trying to claim anelka was better lol

  25. Aussie Gooner

    Ozil still proving you can make a decent living from the highlights reel captured over many years! Honestly anyone thinking that Ozil has been anything but a bit part player needs help!

    Cesc contributed so much more in every single game he played than Ozil has even thought of doing in his whole Arsenal career. I am not deliberately knocking Ozil but you have to face facts.

    I wonder if Cesc would have stayed if we had offered him Ozil type money? Perhaps his ‘Barca DNA’ would have morphed into Arsenal DNA!

  26. Nelson

    I hope that the society has awaken as a result of this coronavirus outbreak. It is not healthy to have way too much resources put into sport. All governments should put a cap in the money spent in sport and a very heavy tax should be imposed on overspending. The governments should then spend more resources on something of real values to the mankind, such as medical research, climate change research, etc.

  27. Aussie Gooner

    An interesting take from Dr Devi Sridhar in the UK:

    The UK gave up on containing the coronavirus outbreak ‘too soon’ because scientists assumed most people would become infected anyway, a leading expert has claimed.

    Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at the Edinburgh University, said the assumption led officials to abandon measures that could help slow the pandemic.

    Those measures include mass testing and stringent contact tracing – two actions which have helped South Korea keep COVID-19 fatalities below 200.

    Early on in the UK’s outbreak, the Government suggested one way of beating the virus was by allowing 80 per cent of Britons to get infected to build ‘herd immunity’.

    Professor Sridhar tweeted today that this kind of thinking ‘resulted in the UK giving up on containment too early.’

    ‘Planning and preparing for unprecedented testing and using big data/apps for tracing were taken off the table. In my view, we went down the wrong path,’ she said.

    ‘Each day in lockdown: kids fall into poverty, domestic abuse increases, social fabric comes apart, major economic hit. Lockdowns are expensive. We need to use the time.

    ‘We will be stuck in lockdown until we get test, trace, isolation plan. We are basically pressing pause on the spread of virus while we race to catch up.

    ‘If we’re not using the time now, then we’re just wasting days/months in lockdown not aggressively figuring out where virus is.’

  28. þorkell einarsson

    Eda / Edu ?? Congrats to Özil with the girl. She will change his life for the better,
    mabey also his football !!

  29. Pierre

    “Comparing cesc with ozil is like comparing Henry with anelka and people actually trying to claim anelka was better lol”

    Aussie gooner
    ” Ozil has been anything but a bit part player..
    !Cesc contributed so much more in every single game he played”

    China, I’m not sure anyone has tried to claim Ozil was better than Cesc ( spanning over their whole careers) .

    A peak Ozil whether playing for his country , at Real Madrid or in his best season at Arsenal , as the link showed was probably better than Cesc at his peak.

    Aussie gooner…will just point out that Cesc ( at Barcelona and internationally) was a bit part player , whereas Ozil ( at club level and internationally) has never been a bit part player .

    However , Cesc over his whole career was a more lauded player although it has to be said that his time at Barcelona proved to be slightly disappointing in that he never cemented a regular place in the side and was allowed to leave.

    It could also be said that internationally, Cesc was a peripheral player for spain(though he had tough competition in midfield) whereas Ozil was Germany’s talisman, winning the world cup and being voted Germany’s best player 5 years on the bounce

    Cesc early spell at Chelsea was superb but it’s fair to say that he faded very quickly and his legs had gone as he reached his 30’s , he is only 32 now .

    His best football over a period of time was without doubt at Arsenal, though it is probably tinged with disappointment that despite playing with a very talented group of players , he failed to add to the one F A cup at the start of his career .

    Ozil , who is only a year younger than Cesc and in the twilight of his career , receives way more criticism than Cesc did in the twilight of his career.

    Cesc seemed to escape any criticism from the media and fans as his game deteriorated to a level where he rarely started for Chelsea towards the end of his career due to his poor form and inability get around the pitch.

    Whereas Ozil is expected to play at his peak week in week out and receives a copious amount of criticism from the media and a section of the fans.

    At the end of the day Ozil was more successful at Arsenal than Cesc despite playing with inferior players and as an Arsenal supporter, to me winning trophies is what it’s all about.

    Personally , I think if you look at their very successful careers , there is not too much to choose between them, though I’m sure the Ozil obsessives will have something to say about that.

    All I can say is look at what they achieved for club and country, and how much INFLUENCE each player had for their international and club sides.

    I haven’t checked but I would say Cesc probably won more trophies but I would say the silverware at Chelsea should give him the most pleasure as he was the most important and influential player in the side and made them tick .
    I dont think you could say the same during his spell at Barcelona and at international level.
    Cesc just edges it for me due to the amount of trophies he won in his career.

  30. Freddie Ljungberg

    Writes his daily epic about Ozil. Complains about “Ozil obsessives”. Is a stranger to irony.

    Pierre in isolation, not corona related. Just shunned by society for his radicalized views on has been footballers.

    Next on disturbing humans: Why is CG a cunt?

    tune in next week for the non surprising conclusion.

  31. Pierre

    Dark Hei
    Careful, complementing Arsenal players is frowned upon by many on Le Grove, Fred will regard you as an Arsenal fan who has “radicalized views on has been footballers.”.

    Personally, ( unlike fred)I will always respect quality on a football pitch , Diaby dominated that match at Anfield.

    We were robbed of a potentially top quality player in Diaby and then cazorla suffered the same fate injury wise .

  32. Freddie Ljungberg

    If Bergkamp was still playing now he would still have more of an input than Ozil has for us.

    Wipe your tears.

  33. Freddie Ljungberg

    Complimenting an Arsenal player is not the same as what you do.

    You write a column for the Ozil Wankaton Daily and mistakenly post it here every time, must be your age.

  34. Jamie

    “I haven’t checked but I would say Cesc probably won more trophies”

    I checked for you:

    Ozil Career Trophies

    1 x World Cup
    1 x La Liga
    1 x Spanish Cup
    1 x Spanish Super Cup
    1 x German Cup
    3 x FA Cup
    2 x Community Shield

    Cesc Career Trophies

    1 x World Cup
    2 x European Champion
    1 x La Liga
    1 x Spanish Cup
    2 x Spanish Super Cup
    1 x FIFA Club World Cup
    2 x Premier League Champion
    2 x FA Cup
    1 x League Cup
    1 x Europa League Champion
    1 x UEFA Super Cup
    2 x Community Shield

  35. Micheal

    Daniel Levy at the Spuds setting afine example of how to manage in a crisis.

    All 500-odd staff and players at Spuds taking a 20% pay cut. Daniel Levy collects £4m salary – plus a £3m bonus for building the stadium.

    Enough to give hypocrisy a bad name.

  36. Dissenter

    That’s a lie about Daniel Levi
    His bonus for completing their stadium, i.e. the £3 million is deferred and he took a 20% pay cut on his £4 million wages.

  37. CG

    Thanks Pierre for explaining the difference.

    My point was agents are a cancer in the game. And they need cutting out.

    (FIFA themselves stated £ 500 million was paid out to agents last year alone.)

    My other point was Corona- will see that overstaffed nonentities like Raul and Edu will not be required anymore at clubs- there by eradicating them.

    I do not wish any personal harm to anybody- including our Dopes in charge.

  38. andy1886

    Diaby is a classic example of the player who become better the more time he was injured. Yes, he had a handful of good or very good games but he also had many mediocre ones too. He was also the numpty that got sent off when we were 4-0 up at Newcastle and ended up drawing the game. Just waiting now for the usual you-tube highlights reel to prove (lol) what a great player he was…

  39. Spanishdave

    Good time to slim down football clubs ,the players to should only get 50% wages.
    Meanwhile at our boardroom they are voting on whether it’s tea or coffee.

  40. Spanishdave

    Crazy that I can’t go fishing.
    Private lakes have very few people all at least 10 m apart , in fresh air, totally self contained.
    All you get is an ‘government spokesman’ said it.
    Probably never fished in his life.

  41. Uwot?

    Andy1886.Partly Diaby fault but 99% can attributed to fat Phil Dowd.another shameless refereeing performance up there with Riley at old toilet.gifted the barcodes two goals & just about every decision in the match with the exception of our goals.never forgiven him.

  42. Tom

    The New Castle sending off I can explain, but the own goal to gift United a win at OT even Diaby can’t.

  43. Dissenter

    You stated that Mr Levi was collection his full salary and bonus when in fact, he isn’t. He’e had a pay cut on his basic salary, nothing wrong with getting his bonus when the crises is resolved. After all he did drag a small club to a place where they are competing with bigger teams and built a new stadium.
    He has to get a hair cut before asking the players and managers to do so, that’s how leadership is done, just so that you know.

  44. Dissenter

    The criticism of Mr Levi is placing the non-playing staff on furlough so the state can pick up 80% of their wage is immoral when he hasn’t gotten a wage reduction from the players and managers.
    That’s just wrong and cowardly.
    He may be using that approach to leverage the players but … that’s still pathetic.

  45. Micheal


    Your support for “Mr Levi” is very touching and I am sure he is grateful that an Arsenal supporter does not regard his £3m as greedy and hypocritical in the present climate.
    The £3m bonus for doing his job remains a deferred liability on the club’s books. A liability is a liability until it is either paid or removed. Maybe “Mr Levi” will wander down the corridor at around 5 pm on Christmas Eve when no one else is looking and remind the Finance Director that the club still owes him £3m.

    Lovely fellah.

  46. andy1886

    Lol, shame YouTube wasn’t around to big up the likes of Gus Caesar, John Hawley and the like. Seriously, Diaby had some talent bat the evidence isn’t there support any claim to his greatness. Didn’t look the brightest spark either.

  47. andy1886

    Thought that Sanogo was supposed to be a future £50m player? (perhaps £50 would have been closer).

  48. Dissenter

    You are the one struggling with what “deferral” means
    Until you know when and under what conditions the monies owed him will be repaid, stop yapping about it.
    Truth is that he took a 20% wage cut which you neglected to mention and are still trying to gloss over even after being corrected.

    I don’t support My Levi …I also criticized him for the cowardly move to furlough non=paying staff so that they can suck on the state nipple so I don’t know what you’re on about.

  49. CG

    Its easy to criticise Sanogo.

    But he has won a trophy( 2 in fact) in Arsenal colors. He was instrumental in the memorable Hull City F A Cup final triumph as second half sub.

    The difference now is:

    Where Wenger got his flops from France on a free transfer or meagre fees.
    We now pay £72 million for them.

    Lets hope Pepe wins as much in an Arsenal shirt as the much maligned Postman.

    (I have my doubts though,)

  50. Micheal

    You are the one struggling with what “deferral” means.

    Deferred: Dictionary definition – “delayed until a later time”

  51. Dissenter

    He took a 20%wages cut on his salary and deferred his bonus to a letter date
    Why aren’t you addressing the wage cut he took, only zooming on the bonus for building a stadium.
    I mean, why shouldn’t he get his bonus at a later date when the crises is resolved. Is the stadium a fictional entity?

  52. andy1886

    Sanogo ‘instrumental’ in our cup win?? Lol, he came on and blundered around which admittedly caused chaos but that’s hardly a ‘skill’ is it? Yup, it is easy to criticise because he was crap, as usual we went for the cheapest option and signed another dud.

  53. NEEG


    I disagree with quite a lot you write about however your stance on agents is positive. But will the players want to be rid of their guardians? Do Turkeys vote for Christmas.

    It is up to the authorities to introduce a new system but unfortunately the authorities are more corrupt than the agents.